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Managing and Harnessing ADHD

Individuals with ADHD have an attention frame that was more advantageous during prehistoric times than in today’s world:


  • Exceptional roaming attention

  • Strong homing attention for areas of interest

  • Weak central task attention for externally imposed tasks


In this post, you’ll understand more about the neurological basis of their condition, to provide a foundation that forms effective academic strategies and chooses a career path that allows them to use their unique attentional style advantageously.


Children diagnosed with ADHD have prefrontal lobes, basal ganglia, and cerebellum 3 to 4 percent smaller than their “neurotypical” peers - they lag in brain growth by an average of three years compared to normal children.


Since the brain region that makes plans and controls impulses are underdeveloped, emotional and physical inclinations of students with ADHD dominate their brains, making it hard to focus on even simple assignments, let alone complex ones.


Despite their hyperactive, impulsive, and distractible nature, students diagnosed with ADHD are consistently understimulated due to their comparatively lower dopamine levels. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, affects the human brain’s motivation and reward system.


Those with ADHD tend to have more Dopamine D4 Gene 7-repeat allele (DRD4), or “novelty-seeking gene,” than the average person. As the name suggests, the novelty-seeking gene promotes risk-taking and thrill-seeking behavior. The higher DRD4 levels, coupled with lower dopamine levels, develop a “chronic hunger” for thrill-seeking, impulsive activities among students with ADHD. This provides a comprehensive explanation of the neurological elements that shape and influence the ADHD attentional frame.

Individuals with and without ADHD:

  • Nearly identical

  • Possess crucial brain regions

  • Have dopamine neurotransmitters


However, for individuals with ADHD, their information processing is often disrupted by their hyperactive impulsions.


With this insight, students with ADHD can form effective academic strategies to manage school life and choose the most fulfilling future careers.


First and foremost, they need to understand the above elements of ADHD and constantly endeavor to monitor the needs of their minds to come up with inventive ways to manage them.


Make improvements to their working environment to fulfill their chronic hunger for stimulation and increase their focus on the tasks at hand.


  • Instead of a chair → adapt therapy balls or standing desks

  • In choosing courses → select more interdisciplinary, discussion-heavy, and especially outdoors-involved classes.


Students with ADHD


  • Must gauge their personal needs

  • Should understand and appreciate the positive qualities of ADHD

  • Apply the same positive qualities to their choice of and dedication to careers.


Career options:


Design thinking

  • Interdisciplinary

  • Incorporates elements from the artistic and engineering fields


Ethnographic research and team-based projects

  • Foster a “positive niche” for people with ADHD

  • A notable career choice that allows individuals with ADHD to fully utilize their animated, dynamic, and high-spirited brain.


Conclusion


While managing the workings of their minds as outlined, students with ADHD need to be patient with their minds. In school, their neurological differences may seem like a disadvantage against their neurotypical peers. For some, ADHD may even be their greatest obstacle. Yet, carefully nurtured into adulthood, students with ADHD may not only reach parity with their peers but, fueled by their chronic hunger, also become trailblazers for innovation.


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